There are two kinds of math in the Democratic presidential race: delegate math and momentum math. Backers of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton prefer the delegate math, for obvious reasons. She has a solid lead in pledged delegates and, when superdelegates are added in, her advantage becomes overwhelming.
Backers of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders prefer the momentum math, for equally obvious reasons. Since March 22, Sanders has won six of seven state contests. He also dominated the “global primary” organized by Democrats Abroad.
On Tuesday night, Sanders won a pivotal contest in the battleground state of Wisconsin, besting Clinton by a 57-43 margin. That was not quite the 58-41 margin that secured the state for Barack Obama when he faced Clinton in 2008. But it was close enough to have Sanders challenging the narrative that says he cannot win the Democratic nod.
“The corporate media and political establishment keep counting us out, but we keep winning states and doing so by large margins,” Sanders declared Tuesday night. “If we can keep this up, we’re going to shock them all and win this nomination.”
Sanders won 71 of 72 Wisconsin counties, showing strength in urban, suburban, and rural areas. (Among the rural areas where the senator ran particularly well was Menominee County, where 87 percent of the residents are Native Americans and Sanders took 63 percent of the vote.) In Milwaukee County, which was seen as Clinton’s base in the state, she did win; but the margin of 52-48 was far closer than in populous Dane County (Madison), where Sanders led 63-37. As in Michigan, where Sanders scored a surprise win in March, the senator won around 30 percent of the African-American vote. That was a stronger number than in several Southern states that voted in late February and early March. But it was still far less than the level of support for Clinton, who in Wisconsin campaigned with the support of popular Congresswoman Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee.
Also, as in Michigan, trade was big issue in Wisconsin, with 60 percent of Wisconsinites who said that current trade policies harm the United States voting for Sanders, who vigorously opposes them.